Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen's timeless novel of class, family and love, will come to life this spring in Princeton, New Jersey. American Repertory Ballet's premiere on April 21 marks one of the few times Austen's writing has appeared as a full-length story ballet. ARB artistic director and choreographer Douglas Martin told Pointe why the story, famed for its witty dialogue, makes perfect sense as dance.
What inspired you to tackle this?
I wanted a full-length ballet that could be specifically for ARB. It's hard to write a great love story, and Pride and Prejudice has many different kinds of relationships at its heart, because of the Bennet sisters. That gives me many lead couples and all kinds of ideas about how people can interact with each other.
What music are you using?
The folks at Northern Ballet in the UK also believe in the power of narrative ballet and, thanks to their choreographic lab Tell Tale Steps, they've created an opportunity for choreographers to dive into the form. If you want to take a peek into the process of creating a story ballet, don't miss the company's live stream on Thursday, June 16. There will be a panel discussion covering narrative in ballet, and the choreographers will show excerpts of their work.
This year's participants include Lucia Solari, Morgann Runacre-Temple, Tobias Batley (a Northern Ballet company member), Charlotte Edmonds (a young choreographer currently mentored by The Royal Ballet's Wayne McGregor) and Carlos Pons Guerra. The mix of ages and backgrounds is sure to yield interesting results.
Part of their mentorship team includes dramaturg Ruth Little and playwright Greg Mosse. Since dramaturgy faded from the ballet world as choreographers embraced abstraction, we're especially excited to see elements of theater and dance coming together again—all for the benefit of amazing storytelling.
Meet the choreographers below: